Missing Queens in Autumn

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Brian Bush 

Field Bee
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Here is my theory. Please shoot me down in flames or contribute your own theory.
Recently many beeks have bemoaned a trend of hives becoming queenless in the Autumn.
We know that many queens stop laying when treating with Apiguard etc for varroa.
We all would like hives that supersede in late summer.
Here is my theory: Old queen stops laying with Apiguard on. Bees want to supersede her but for 4 weeks they have no brood. Old queen does not resume laying or does not produce viable eggs in time for a late autumn raising of a new queen and successful mating.
We then have smaller colonies and no viable queen.

This week I found two of my Hives to be queenless. They did not swarm earlier in the year and the queens until late August were prolific.

:banghead:
 

drstitson 

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presumably loads of factors conspiring as you say... ageing queen (in modern terms at least) forced into an even earlier "menopause" by treatment leaving poor old workers with nothing to play with.
 

drstitson 

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queen loss

been pondering the issue of queen "failure" that seems to be current state of play ie queens lasting only 2, 1 or less than 1 season, princesses too weak to deal with significant competition at emergence etc.

Anyone know is this is a widespread problem or UK only? What is situation in those countries who have a significant reliance on royal jelly harvest from their colonies.

Perhaps we have unwittingly been selecting for our preferred "beneficial" characteristics and all the while been losing the ability to produce top quality food for our queen larvae?
 

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